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Three things we learned today at the World Cup

17 June 2018
Three things we learned today at the World Cup

In Group C, Kasper Schmeichel's slew of saves made Yussuf Poulsen's opportunistic second-half goal stand up in Denmark's 1-0 victory over Peru, while Paul Pogba's 80th minute goal gave France a 2-1 win over Australia after their captain Mile Jedinak had equalised from the penalty spot. The Barcelona man's spot kick is strongly palmed away to his right, poor spot kick.

Iceland continued its miraculous run of global football on Saturday, holding on for a 1-1 draw against Argentina its first match at the 2018 World Cup.

Iceland then defended superbly, nearly fanatically, and when substitute Cristian Pavon did break through in the dying moments, Halldorsson made another fantastic full-length save to touch his shot clear. Messi saw that the Iceland defence was out of shape for once, and swung the pass over the defenders.

Then Iceland's defence kicked in, keeping nearly the entire team behind the ball and swarming the Argentina attackers, especially Lionel Messi.

Where is FIFA World Cup 2018 Argentina vs Iceland match being played? A 1-1 draw with impressive World Cup newcomer Iceland is far from a fatal blow to Argentina's chances of advancing from a well-balanced group that also includes Croatia and Nigeria. The draw against Iceland justifies the group's status as the Group of Death and Argentina could well bow out in the preliminary stages if they don't act fast.

Two years on, Heimir Hallgrimsson's intrepid team played with exactly the same team ethic and collective zeal that propelled them past England and into the quarter-finals at Euro 2016.

But the truth of the matter is, Argentina aren't a good enough side to go far in the tournament.

Just don't expect Iceland to be at all intimidated by Argentina and its superstar forward, going by its European Championship debut two years ago.

"This is a typical game for us: We defend well, we get the opponent impatient and then, when we attack, we are fast and we have quality", Halldorsson said.

While Hallgrimsson got his approach spot on, the same can not be said for his Argentina counterpart Jorge Sampaoli, whose pre-match assertion that everything would be centred around Lionel Messi seemed to upset the balance of his side.

Despite the world-class goalscoring talent available to Argentina, Messi had to drag them to the World Cup nearly single-handedly, and they'll be relying on him a lot if they're to progress deep into the competition.

It looked from then like Argentina were on course for the expected. Birkir Bjarnason had already sidefooted narrowly wide as a deflected cross scooted untended across the box, and the Alfred Finnbogason equalizer came after Argentina had three times failed to clear balls fired across the box.

The Arsenal supporter counts Thierry Henry as one of his heroes, but, despite his criticism of Iceland, he retains an admiration for Ronaldo, whom he believes is Messi's equal. If Argentina came into the game expecting anything but a tough afternoon, they were in for a rude shock. They waited and waited, it never came. "For everyone, it is more enjoyable to play this way and achieve something than play in a different way and don't achieve anything".